Studio 4: Sustainable comfort in a changing world

Studio brief

We have high expectations for beautiful spaces, safe and efficient. But are they also a delight? How can we promote successful environments?

The awareness of climate change and the increasingly urgent need to reduce carbon emissions in buildings and cities is growing in parallel with concerns with the comfort of occupants due to the rising temperatures. Recent methods and criteria look at overheating in buildings and how to be resilient in changing environments.

Still, we spend most of our live indoors.
Light strongly affects the way we experience a space and how we perceive it. Likewise daylight harvesting can play an important role in the energy performance of buildings. Whilst there is strong evidence of the energetic benefits of utilising natural light in buildings to reduce lighting loads there is now also growing interest on the impact of daylight on the health and well being of the occupants.  Good daylight design is therefore imperative to ensure good visual acuity, comfort and performance of occupants as well as contributing towards energy efficient buildings and sustainable cities. As a part of this dialogue, new metrics and tools related to daylight, its interaction with people, buildings and cities have recently been developed.

Passive strategies for heating and cooling are first line of defence to the effects of climate change and the depletion of scarce resources. Recent comfort theories have acknowledged the interaction between people and their surrounding environment.  Regulations, Standards and Guidelines are good references to access and quantify the impact of changes in buildings, materials and technologies.

A series of lectures, workshops and studio classes will discuss these topics and others related to comfortable environments and promote reflections for future actions.

Summer preparation

Recommended reading of Lisa Heschong’s Thermal Delight in Architecture.

First seven weeks of study

  • Week 1: Introduction to comfort: people, buildings and materials
  • Week 2: Climate change and resilience
  • Week 3: Adaptive comfort theory and practice
  • Week 4: Lighting and visual comfort
  • Week 5: Design for comfortable spaces
  • Week 6: Architectural delight
  • Week 7: Adaptability at different scales

Reading list

  1. Bjarke Ingels (Editor), Yes is more : an archicomic on architectural evolution, Köln, Evergreen, 2010
  2. Fergus Nicol, Michael Humphreys and Susan Roaf, Adaptive Thermal Comfort: Principles and Practice, Earthscan from Routhlege, Oxon and NY, 2012
  3. Lisa Heschong, Thermal delight in Architecture, Cambridge; London: MIT Press, 1979
  4. Peter Tregenza and Michael Wilson, Daylighting Architecture and Lighting Design, Routledge, 2011
  5. Susan Roaf, and Manuel Fuentes and Stephanie Thomas-Rees,  Ecohouse, 4th Edition, London: Routledge, 2013
  6. William McDonough and Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, London: Vintage, 2009
Studio 4: Sustainable comfort in a changing world


Tutor Luisa Brotas

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